inspiration abounds: “the stories from the ground” shadow puppetry…
Posted in artists, film December 4th, 2009 by pia



Every now and then I stumble upon something magical that makes my heart soar – high up in the sky, diving and weaving through the clouds. This morning I came across the work of the stories from the ground shadow puppetry, and I am enraptured, take a look…



The stories from the ground shadow puppetry are a collective of talented people who specialise in ‘Micro-theatre’ shadow performances. In 2008 they performed two seasons of ‘The Baron in the trees‘ –  a shadow adaption of Italo Calvino’s classic novel. And this year, they made the music clip for Lior’s new song “I’ll forget you”, featuring Sia. It’s a beautiful song, and the puppetry is breathtaking…

Here is a behind the scenes documentary of how they made the film. I love that they show how they made Lior’s character – from bits of cardboard, steel wool for his hair, tape, and bicycle spokes…

Incredibly inspiring, non? It got me thinking about this upcoming holiday season (and yes, I will be posting my holiday gift guide and decorating ideas first thing on monday so be ready) As a kid, one of my all-time favourite things about Christmas day was our ‘performance’  – my cousin Simone and I would spend months in advance planning our Christmas day show. It included piano solos and duets, lip syncing stage shows, spectacular freak shows (which usually involved my brother and Simone’s brother, trying to do some circus act to shock our audience – being our grandparents and parents – but instead would have them laughing uncontrollably ), and detailed choreographed dances by Simone and I, to such songs as “locomotive” by Kylie Minogue. Simone and I would turn the living room into a lively theater, ushering our audience into their designated seats and handing out hand drawn programs.   They were fun fun times.

What does this have to do with the above wonders? Well, I’m thinking, for the children (and the children at heart, that being us) how wonderful it would be to create a puppet show for your family day this year! You can use things from around the house – like steel wool for hair, and cardboard, and old bicycle spokes – to make a wonderful puppet show. To get that lovely paper drop-look the stories from the ground have used, what about baking paper? I have a baking paper that I buy from my organic/fair trade supermarket and because it’s made from recycled paper,  it has that lovely tea-dyed look to it, it would be perfect. Your children could choose one of their favourite songs to be the musical backdrop. What do you think? I think it would be a living-room-box-office hit!


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  1. liz arcus says


    December 4th, 2009 | #

  2. heather says

    gorgeous – have sent it on…

    December 4th, 2009 | #

  3. Debi says

    Oh, a perfectly magical way to begin my day, so bless you. 🙂 I look for childhood in every Christmas corner and have at last found some. Truly wonderful.

    December 4th, 2009 | #

  4. {starting the day late} | {Bits of Beauty} says

    […] totally just jacked this video from Pia Jane Bijkerk. Visit the original post to see more about the video. December 4th, 2009 | Category: […]

    December 4th, 2009 | #

  5. Cassandra says

    I can’t wait to show my step-children Pia. They love putting on shows and making stuff, so this is on the list of lovely things to do over our Christmas break.

    Lovely entries all week – have a super weekend.


    December 4th, 2009 | #

  6. Ashley says

    So beautiful! It reminds me of the animation of Lotte Reiniger, from the early 1900’s. Just gorgeous! Thank you for sharing it. 🙂

    December 4th, 2009 | #

  7. Debbie Schramer says

    i love your blog! i visit it every day without fail. it is so amazing… of the very best, truthfully. you always share the most incredible things!! my husband and i have made some shadow films……they are so magical to do! i love this film, though….really beautiful and wonderful to see how they made it. i will definitely follow them.

    i thought you might be really interested in what my husband and i do…..we create magical worlds from nature……tiny chairs from leaves and flowers, huge fairy houses from driftwood and vines and stones and sweet little forest people from moss and twigs. we also have made several children’s films… called
    “The Enchanted Treehouse”. i hope you’ll have a minute to visit our sites….

    thank you for always lifting my spirit and my eyes to beauty!!

    December 4th, 2009 | #

  8. cindy says

    so wonderful, pia. i love the puppetry and the song. so fitting to have sia featured as she’s done some interesting videos, too. lior is new to me. thank you. enjoy your weekend!

    December 4th, 2009 | #

  9. katiecrackernuts says

    Oh Lordy, I feel like we’ve seen enough of our mobs improvised Chrismas plays to last a lifetime. The 18-year-old even threatened to rock out her dance to Frosty The Snowman at this morning’s family tree-decorating breakfast. Her boyfriend and her sister’s boyfriend looked suitably appalled. So they ought to be. It’s awful.

    December 5th, 2009 | #

  10. Bec says

    Pia, this post made me incredibly happy! You brought all my favourite past times togther in one place. I’ll forget you is such a beautiful song! I was fortunate enough to see like play last summer at a local festival, amazing! And actually went to sias concert last weekend in newtown, she’s an amazing performer!
    Your talks about childhood Christmas concerts is making me feel so nostalgic! My cousins and I used to do the same, with singing and dancing, yet not one of us taking lessons in either. They were so much fun. Writing this is making me realize just how much time has passed, this year my sisters off back packing around Asia, and one of my cousins has just had a baby, the other has joined the police force. Oh what simple days they once used to be. Thankyou so much for your post pia, simply beautiful. X

    December 5th, 2009 | #

  11. Phoe says

    Beautiful and amazing.

    December 6th, 2009 | #

  12. theaxx says

    oh yes!! these are really gorgeous aren’t they?


    December 6th, 2009 | #

  13. nyla says

    I’m utterly enchanted! What a find, Pia. What a find.

    December 6th, 2009 | #

  14. Lior – I’ll Forget You « ae says

    […] Found with story here […]

    December 7th, 2009 | #

  15. Ann Marie says

    oh, heart! heart! heart! love this, pia. thanks for sharing. made my day 😉

    December 7th, 2009 | #

  16. les fifoles says

    Simply beautiful!

    Thank you to share. A bientôt. Anne

    December 7th, 2009 | #

  17. deb says

    Magnifique! thanks!

    December 7th, 2009 | #

  18. pia says

    thanks guys!!! i’m so happy to hear you are as inspired as I am by this creative group.

    Bec – I love that you had similar christmas memories! we are the same – none of us ever had lessons, or were ever in drama at school. It was just a bit of fun for the family. I’d love to see sia live!

    katiekrackernuts – hilarious! We are the exact opposite. None of us are performers, there has not even been a cameo or extra’s role in a school play. I think that’s why our parents and grandparents always got such a kick out of it – it was the one day we’d come out of our ‘shells’ and treat them to some crazy entertainment. It only lasted a few years – of course by the time we got to our teens it was all over – back in our shells we went!!

    Debbie Schramer – I’l have a look, thank you so much for letting me know! it sounds wonderful.

    thanks again guys, hope you all had a terrific weekend. there’s only a few more to go before the end of the year!


    December 7th, 2009 | #

  19. Alisa says

    Oh Wow!! What a fabulous post, is their anything more romantic than shadow puppets?! Beautiful, thanks Pia.

    December 7th, 2009 | #

  20. danica says

    ah! magical! thank you for sharing!

    March 17th, 2010 | #

  21. Cherry Coloured» Blog Archive » shadow puppets says

    […] The revolution will not be animated. Check out this video which was made only with shadow, light and paper – no computer effects, no animation. Discover all about Stories From The Ground and their delightful shadow puppetry here. […]

    March 21st, 2010 | #

  22. Puppeteers Research | Elizabethjackman says

    […]… […]

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